Airport Transfer from Cardiff to Heathrow Airport
One of the few downsides of living in or near to the wonderful city of Cardiff is the lack of a major International airports with good connections to Europe and the rest of the world. Even before the demise of FlyBe, which led to the cancellation of the Cardiff to Paris Charles de Gaulle route and COVID-19 related suspension, travelling internationally could be a major headache due to the connection waiting times in Amsterdam and Paris. This has led to a reliance on London Heathrow Airport for Cardiff and South Wales passengers. This article discusses the options of an airport transfer from Cardiff to Heathrow Airport (including the rest of South Wales).
Train to Heathrow Airport from Cardiff or South Wales
Unfortunately, although the rail track from South Wales to London Paddington goes close to London Heathrow Airport it does not stop at the airport. This requires a change at London Paddington to the Heathrow Express. Travelling by rail to Heathrow from Cardiff and the South Wales has the following disadvantages:
You first need to get to a station on the main South Wales to London Paddington line.
You could be lucky and live very close to Swansea, Neath, Bridgend, Cardiff or Newport stations, and can walk to the station, if you just have a small amount of luggage. However, this is only for the lucky few and most people have to travel to the main line station by bus, train, taxi or using a lift from a friend before taking the inter-city train to London.
The cost of rail travel from South Wales to Heathrow Airport
Rail fares have crept up over the years and travelling to London could cost more than £75, peak times can become very expensive. If there is a group travelling the cost of rail will reach hundreds of pounds. Alternatively passengers can get a tube from London Paddington to Heathrow however this will take over an hour. The additional costs related to taking a train including the £15 Heathrow express can add up and often travelers might find it cheaper to book an airport transfer that has a door to door service.
The time taken to rail travel from South Wales to Heathrow Airport
Although there is no disputing the fact that trains achieve much faster speeds than cars of buses, the change of train in Paddington increases the time of the journey can be significantly longer than a car. This situation is made worse if your flight is not from Heathrow terminals two or three, when another change (along with your luggage) will be required.
Bus to Heathrow Airport from Cardiff or South Wales
There is no doubt that travelling by National Express or on similar coach service, is the cheapest way to get from South Wales to Heathrow Airport, but it is also the slowest.
Firstly, you have to travel to one of the National Express bus stops to board the bus.
Secondly, there are the pick-up and drop-off steps along the way (different stops on different buses). Once you have arrived at London Heathrow the time that it takes to move between and wait at the different terminals seems to be never ending.
Lastly, you cannot choose what time you want to arrive or leave. The fixed timetable means that you could be at the airport 5 hours before your flight or be waiting for you bus for 2 hours. In many cases if travelling in a group it is cheaper to book an airport transfer.
Self Drive from South Wales to Heathrow Airport
If you can find a friend who is willing to drive you to Heathrow Airport, and back, then go for it as you are lucky person.
However, this luck does not fall to many of us. If you choose to drive your car will have to be left at one of the car parks at Heathrow Airport. There are several options available, but the cheaper the parking the further away from Heathrow Airport your car will be. This requires you to wait for the shuttle bus which can add up to an hour to your journey from South Wales to Cardiff Airport.
It can also be stressful driving over 2 hours before a long flight and then having to drive back after a long journey home. This is why people often choose the ease of a door to door service.
Private Airport Transfer to Heathrow Airport from Cardiff or South Wales
Booking a private airport transfer from South Wales to Heathrow Airport is definitely the fastest, most convenient way to travel, as you will be taken from door to door without any changes. The cost will be partly determined by the quality and the number of seats in the vehicle that you hire.
If there are a group of you, it could work out that taking a private transfer from South Wales to Heathrow Airport is the cheapest option. Unlike other options you will be collected from your pick up point and will stop at only the places that you choose including multiple pickups and drop offs on your way to and from London Heathrow Airport.
Additionally, when you take a private airport transfer your driver can locate problems ahead and find alternative routes, which are not possible for buses and trains.
Heathrow Travel Update
In 2020, 22.1 million passengers travelled through the UK’s only hub airport which was down 72.7% on 2019. Covid-19 related lockdowns and border closures led to a loss of 58.8 million passengers.
Some airlines used passenger aircraft to fly cargo only, helping to transport key essential equipment such as COVID-19 testing kits, PPE and respirators. Over 19,000 converted freighters travelled through Heathrow over the course of the year.
To reduce costs, while protecting front line roles, operations have been consolidating into Terminals 2 and 5 and switching to single runway operations for most of the year.
Heathrow Airport – The UK Hub
There are two types of airports, hubs and point-to-point models. Heathrow is the only hub airport in the UK – the remainder are point-to-point.
Over half of the 70 million passengers that use Heathrow each year are on long haul flights.
Hub airports work to create economies of scale by pooling demand for destinations and regular flights. At Heathrow alone, passengers can access 80 different airlines to 180 destinations in 85 countries – with transfer passengers being the key to making these flights viable. Airlines are able to maximise passenger numbers by filling flights with those using Heathrow merely as a steppingstone to somewhere further, which makes the route more viable.
Passengers benefits include:
- Easier access to and from the airport due to more infrastructure surrounding it (e.g. trains, buses and roads)
- A greater choice of holiday and business destinations
- More frequent flights to destinations
- Cheaper fares due to competition between airlines
Heathrow Airport Covid-19 Health and Safety
Heathrow has prioritised health and safety of colleagues and passengers, putting in place several measures including UV robots, UV handrail technology, anti-viral wraps, hand sanitiser dispensers, Perspex screens and the mandatory use of face masks.
Heathrow Airport Covid-19 Departures
When you are travelling to Heathrow Airport using public transport, face coverings are mandatory. Most operators have amended their services and have introduced limits on the number of onboard passengers to help with social distancing.
If you are driving to the airport, you can drop-off passengers as normal, but you will not be allowed in the terminal. There are car parking spaces in both long and short-stay and you can cancel your booking for free if your plans change.
To enter Heathrow Airport, you will need to bring your face covering as well as your passport and ticket for all passengers aged eleven or over. The face covering does not have to be medical standard, so a home-made one will suffice.
At Heathrow Airport:
- They have introduced one-way systems to ensure social distancing
- Trollies that are free of charge and are all fog-cleaned after every use
- All toilet and wash facilities remain open with hand sanitising dispensers across the terminal
- There is no need to check in – arrive three hours in advance for intercontinental and EL-AL flights and two hours in advance for European flights
- All check-in and bag drop desks are fitted with protective screens and are regularly cleaned
- The check-in lines all have floor markings to help you keep your distance
- You can check-in online and use your mobile boarding card to go through to departures to reduce the number of touchpoints
- Security trays and masks are regularly deep cleaned
- Should you need to be searched, all of Security team will be wearing face coverings
Heathrow Airport Covid-19 Arrivals
Now the following rules are in place when arriving at Heathrow Airport
- Face coverings are mandatory at Heathrow for all passengers aged 11 or over
- Keep a safe distance and there are signs and stickers on the floor throughout the airport
- Use eGates where possible
- Use the width of your trolley to keep a safe distance when collecting your bags
Heathrow Airport Covid-19 Testing Capacity
Heathrow expanded its airport testing capacity with ExpressTest launching privately operated facilities at the airport and Collinson/Swissport building on their already established sites at Terminals 2 & 5.
The move was in response to the Government’s ‘Test to Release’ programme which gives arriving passengers the option to be released from quarantine on day 5, after testing negative for COVID-19.
After months of industry-wide calls for pre-departure testing, the Government now requires all international arrivals to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test, taken up to 72 hours prior to departure, before travelling to England and Scotland.